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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2005 Awards
Musical Stack & Play
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score:) This cleverly designed elephant stacking toy has a place for dropping balls in its top. The balls come out at the base with some fanfare (lights/sound) but nothing over the top. Our testers also liked the soft fabric rings for stacking but really spent most of the time playing with the plastic balls. Marked 6 mos. & up, but will be most enjoyed by 1s and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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Dance Baby Dance Sit & Stand Danceband
(Fisher-Price $39.95 Score:) Great idea, poorly executed. When toddlers activate sounds by stepping on the play mat or by hitting the keys on the console, too much music plays—so the lessons in cause and effect are lost. Marked 6 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2005 Award
Fire Truck and My Little Puppy Playsets
(Gund $19.95 Score:) If you're in the back seat with your toddler and you need to go five more exits, these playsets make great choices! The all-fabric fire truck zips open to reveal a firefighter, Dalmatian, hydrant, and water bucket. My Little Puppy comes in his own dog house, with a ball, bone, and bowl, and barks quietly when squeezed. Also top rated: My First Sports Bag with three fabric balls.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Dance Baby Dance Classical Stacker
(Fisher-Price $22.99 Score:) This prior award-winning stacker is reintroduced in new colors. Star rings fit on the post in any order (a plus). Post has magical lights that wink and play music when top is pressed. Sound quality is not excellent, but it is a long-term favorite. The sounds and lights make this a multi-sensory toy with great appeal. Encourages eye hand and dexterity as well as playful problem solving.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Sleepyhead Bunny
(North American Bear Co. $29 Score:) Pull the long blue and white sleeping cap on this floppy pastel bunny, and it plays "Beautiful Dreamer". Music has an old-fashioned musical sound. Also comes in blue. A perfect baby shower present!

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Put and Peek Birdhouse
(Manhattan Toy $19.95 Score:) This cheerful fabric birdhouse is a parent-intensive toy with lots of possibilities for hamming it up. You an fly the four birds into the house (the roof opens wide, as does one side). Our nine month old tester favored holding (and tasting) the red bird as he watched his father fly the other ones about. Preferrable to Infantino's Puppies Playhouse (same idea, but the animals aren't as nice and the house is smaller and not see-through).

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Babipouce
(Corolle $29 Score:) Older babies are fascinated by dolls that look like real babies. The trick is to find dolls that are washable and safe enough for them to handle. Corolle has an assortment of dolls with all-fabric velour rompers in various colors and soft vinyl painted faces. Our favorites this season: Puppet Blue, with a tri-knottie hat, or Puppet Raspberry, that is easy to grap with an un-stuffed body, or Miss Grenadine with a bright red romper.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
IQ Preschool Around the Blocks
(Small World Toys $25 Score:) A high-quality set of 26 blocks with upper and lowercase letters, plus images to match the letters. All store in a big cloth bag. SNAP Activity: Use these blocks for playing sound games. Put blocks with three distinctive sounds in sight. Ask child to find the block that has the same sound as the word you say. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Story Reader
(Publications International $19.99 Score:) We were happy to find that we could hear and read along with a set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than some other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books in the series are licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo and Bambi. We hope they will consider using more true storybooks with the artistic and literary merit of Peter Rabbit. (800) 454-9006. SNAP:New for 2006: The only new additions to this collection are more licensed characters—Sponge Bob, My Little Pony and more Dora. We preferred last year's set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge, and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books for the series are more licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo, and Bambi. Still recommended, 2004 SNAP AWARD winner, Active Pad ($24.95 ). This looks a lot like so many talking book platforms. Touch the pictures with a stylus and it says the name of the object. It’s a knowing-and-naming book with lots of familiar objects to talk about. Look for the shape and counting book version of this, too. (800) 454-9006.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Nano Case Vehicles
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) You need dexterity, patience and good visual skills to assemble these small vehicles with working parts. Some come with sound chips and all come in sleek cases that convert into play platforms. Collect them and link their roadways together. If you need a lot of not too pricey gifts for birthdays and holidays these sets are a classy choice-but only if the child at the other end loves the challenge of building and the staying power to get the job done. They say 7 and up- we ‘d say that only some 7’s will be able to do this without help. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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